During the 2016 Global Symposium on Overcoming Social Isolation and Deepening Social Connectedness, we had the opportunity to connect with many individuals including youth, Indigenous Elders, practitioners and other professionals who shared their insights, experiences and strategies in overcoming social isolation to accelerate a global movement of unity and inclusiveness within their communities.
We spoke to Ariel Tweto, a passionate individual who started her career as a TV personality, and rose to fame on the hit Discovery Channel show,Flying Wild Alaska. Currently she is the president of a non-profit called Popping Bubbles. The organization works closely with remote communities in Northern Canada and Alaska to “help pop the bubbles that prevent them from living happy and healthy lives.”
Suicide is a major problem in these communities. In the Arctic, the suicide rate is 25 times the national Canadian average, affecting many young men, aged 15-29 in particular. One of the major factors affecting suicide is the persistent social isolation in these areas. Ariel’s team believes that strengthening communication within and beyond the community is a major component in combating the problem of suicide and depression.
For Ariel, helping young people in these remote regions realize their potential and recognize that they can have goals and strive for achievement is what matters most. “To be able to go to a village and … there will be kids that want to go to college, but also people that want to stay there and make their community a better place.” To Ariel, these stories are not only a testament to the work of Popping Bubbles, but to the strength and perseverance of the people in these communities.
Watch the full interview with Ariel Tweto below. You can also access this interview and the others conducted by visiting the Social Connectedness YouTube channel.